HMP Whatton has now been confirmed as the first closed adult male prison to be judged by Ofsted as outstanding across all aspects. This includes the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) provision provided by Milton Keynes College which was also graded outstanding. Phil Harris, Deputy Director: East Midlands, stated: “we are delighted that Ofsted has recognised the excellent job our team does at HMP Whatton. This is a fantastic achievement and when you visit the prison you quickly understand why Ofsted came to their judgement.”
Following the full unannounced inspection which took place at the end of August 2016 the inspectorate reported that: “the operational performance management of the education and training provided by Milton Keynes College was outstanding.”
Inspectors went on to report: “The Education Manager had applied performance management procedures very effectively,” and, “The results of observations of teaching, learning and assessment had been used well to support staff training and development to improve the quality of provision.”
The impact of this effective performance management provided by Milton Keynes College resulted in the inspectorate reporting: ‘The quality of teaching, learning and assessment was outstanding, particularly in classroom sessions. Teaching and training staff were passionate about their subjects, and learners benefited from their enthusiasm … prisoners in education and training were enthusiastic, made good progress and swiftly developed a range of useful employment related, personal and social skills.”
The high standard of teaching and learning at HMP Whatton is also recognised by learners. This was exemplified when Mark Lee, nominated by his learners from the prison, went on to win the 2016 Milton Keynes College OLASS Teacher of the Year.
At HMP Whatton Milton Keynes College works with over 500 prisoners on over 1,500 qualifications each year. In 2015/16 the achievement rate was 95%. The curriculum delivered includes English, Mathematics, Information Technology, Painting and Decorating, Bricklaying, Textiles, Industrial Cleaning, Recycling, a suite of business planning and self-employment courses and a broad range of personal and social development programmes. When reviewing performance on these, inspectors reported that: “Achievement rates on almost all education and vocational training courses were very high’ and ‘Achievement rates on English and mathematics courses had significantly improved since the previous inspection and were high at 85%.”
Whilst HMP Whatton is not unique, the highly effective partnership working between all agencies, including Milton Keynes College, to plan and deliver learning underpins this success. Outstanding strategic leadership from both the prison and the College has a positive impact for all learners. This ensures all understand the vision for learning and all are empowered to innovate, including the recent development of the Milton Keynes College Self-employment Academy.
Jason Mansell, Director Offender Learning, stated: “I was very proud to join our fantastic OLASS team and our valued partners at HMP Whatton to celebrate the publication of the HMIP Report and the confirmation that HMP Whatton is Outstanding. It was a very inspiring day, which reminded me why I work in Offender Learning and the impact we have on the lives of those men and women we work with.”